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Lecture notes for:
Development of a division of labor for the world system

Division of Labor

- Who gets to do what?

- A rural family wants to manufacture clay pots to trade. What are the steps involved and who gets to do what?

The Division of Labor into Sectors of the Economy:


Primary Sector

harvest or extract raw materials and resources directly from the earth

Examples: farmers, miners, fishermen, loggers.


Secondary Sector

manufacture or process raw materials into something useful and marketable, thus adding value.

Examples: Assembly line worker, baker, cook, artist.


Tertiary Sector

distribution of goods, connecting the producer with the consumer through trade, provide personal and professional services.

Examples: Retail sales, waiter, bellhop, maid.


Quarternary Sector

information services; technological production, processing, and dissemination; administration.

Examples: Accounting, research and development, manager, teacher.


Quinary Sector

highest level decision makers, CEOs, movers and shakers, the brains of the operation, the headquarters.

Examples: The head people in a corporation, a subsidiary, or other institution.


In the contemporary world system, many countries specialized in only one or two sectors.